Alternative to Rt 2
When heading back from the Missoula rally, someone told me that Rt 2, while not an interstate is heavily travelled by trucks and was not all that much fun. Instead he suggested I take Rt 200. This secondary highway meanders across Montana, ND and MN to Duluth. It was a wonderful suggestion. The road was virtually empty, in good shape and passed some nice scenery. There is one stretch where they warn you about no gas for the next 180 miles or so and mean it - I got the next town on a Sunday evening on fumes, but did make it.
(Want to work in Communications at the rally? :-)
Re: Alternative to Rt 2
[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by Psycle [/i]
.....Rt 200. This secondary highway meanders across Montana, ND and MN to Duluth. It was a wonderful suggestion. The road was virtually empty, in good shape and passed some nice scenery.... [/QUOTE]
Thanks Cy. Montana also mentioned that I would enjoy Rt 200. I may have to rethink things now. The only drawback with 200 is that I'll have to ride some extra miles to get up to Glacier Nat'l Park. Oh darn! ;)
Riding to Spokane
Grant, I agree with Cy that the rout 200 is a much better alternative than route 2. But My favorite is to cross the continent in Canada. Either the Canadian highway system or rural roads. Canadian plains have more color, hills, and curves than the USA plains; and the people are great also.
Josh Ascher, Latham, NY
My 2 cents
Driving on 2 in the UP of Michigan is one of the nicest rides we have to offer. It is the closest thing to "coastal" riding we have. I don't know about how it is past Wisconsin, but it sure is nice in Michigan.
I was surprised to read that Rt. 2 through Montana has little scenic value - it is labelled a 'scenic route' on my atlas! Does anyone have any opinions/experience with Rt. 12 across Montana?
How about Rt. 12 vs. Rt. 200?
PS - You're right Cliffy - Rt. 2 between Escanaba and Mackinac I. is nice. I plan to drive it this summer as a preface to exploring your fine state's northwest coast sometime this summer.
[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by boxergrrlie [/i]
I was surprised to read that Rt. 2 through Montana has little scenic value - it is labelled a 'scenic route' on my atlas! [/QUOTE]
It's labelled scenic on my atlas too! So how's this for a plan? I follow Rt. 200 across Minn. and N. Dakota then head north at the Montana border to take Rt. 2 out to Glacier Nat'l. Park. I have no idea what to expect out there :dunno so any advice/opinion is welcome.
"Little scenic value?" Well, if you live in the Western part of MT, the whole Eastern Plains seem a little flat. I know folks from the far Eastern part of MT who feel the Western Mountain area of MT is a little hemmed in by those hulking mountains. I guess it depends on what you like. The maps are right.
Rt 2 to Spokane
I have ridden Rt 2 from the MI upper penninsula to Montana several times now, but not since Redmond rally. It has one pretty much unmentioned benefit: you can go pretty darn fast. Just slow down for the towns - they value their children. The towns are about 25 miles apart, but in between, I've kept up with some of the locals at about 95 (true) mph cruise.
You can use the time saved to take some roads down to and through Wyoming, like the Chief Joseph Hwy and the Beartooth pass. Gotta be sly to get through Yellowstone, which in summer is essentially a monkey cage guarded by bears. Then the ride becomes beautiful down to Jackson Hole and take the steep pass into Idaho - I recall it ends up in Idaho Falls. From there, you can wind your way up to Missoula for the ride on the Lolo pass, or take a pretty bleak desert road through Arco, Craters of the Moon, and then find your way along the beautiful Snake River past Ketchum (Sun Valley) up to the Coer d' Alene region, and Spokane.
There are enough permutations to make every ride that way a new adventure.
I drove my sidecar outfit from Port Angeles WA to Trenton a couple of years ago, and rode both US2 and 200, plus a few connectors. I rode 2 across the UP to Sault Ste Marie, then to Sudbury and sort of cross country to Trenton. So, IMHO:
US 2 is very interesting across upper Michigan and Wisconsin, somewhat less interesting across Minnesota, and really boring across North Dakota. 2 across ND is choked with heavy truck traffic, the pavement is beat into serious ruts, and the scenery is not much different from I-94. Both 2 and I-94 are four lane highways, but I-94 is much wider and gets a lot more maintenance. 200 across ND is confusing, because it dodges north and south a lot, but if you have the time, that could be an interesting route.
The truck traffic continues west across Montana on 2, so the scenery gets more open, but it's still a frustrating truck tango.
OK, back to NY. You could ride north into Canada, anc cross back at Sault Ste Marie, ride the UP west to Duluth, (and visit Aerostich.) Duluth is a scenic city worth exploring.
Or, you can head for Chicago, turn the corner, and head northwest via 90 or 94. Very busy traffic anywhere near Chi-town.
My suggestion would be to make a "transit" toward the rocky mountains via either 90 or 94, then pick up 200 across Montana to Helena. At that point you're near the big mountains, and can head north to Glacier Park, or continue to Spokane on I-90 or any state highways that look appealing.
If you want some destinations, I'd suggest:
Theodore Roosevelt Nat. Park, North Dakota
Mt Rushmore, South Dakota
Yellowstone National Park
Glacier National Park (Logan Pass)
Assuming you do Glacier, I'd suggest US 2 west from Kalispell, then dodging south on 56 to 200, via Sandpoint and south to I-90 then west to Spokane.
If you do Mt. Rushmore, I'd suggest heading west on I-90 to Sheridan, then west on 14 (or 16) through Wyoming to Cody and Yellowstone Park. VERY steep mountains here and there. Stop for several hours at the art museum in Cody. After Yellowstone, head north via either I-15 or 28 to Missoula, and over the pass on I-90 to Spokane. Or, spend a couple of days riding Idaho, say 20 to Arco, Picabo, and 75 via Stanley to Salmon, then Missoula. Or inquire about other backroads such as (may be dirt) 21 Stanley to Horseshoe Bend, and north on 55 to Lewiston and north to Spokane. We're talking MOUNTAIN country here.
The country south of Spokane is rolling hills, but the northeast corner of Oregon is very rugged. For you GS types, consider visiting Hells Canyon via Cuprum, then riding north via forest service roads to Joseph, and north again on 3 from Enterprise.
For those who have never traveled in Idaho, Oregon, or Washington, this is really great motorcycling country, with lots of excellent paved roads twisting through the country, and spectacular sights such as Grand Coulee Dam, Hells Canyon, the Sawtooth Mountains, etc. I highly recommend that you budget several days to look around before or after the rally. I can make suggestions.
Here's a shot of US200 across Montana. Crank up the wick and go. Just remember to gas up at every opportunity.
Too bad about Rt 2
Sorry to hear 2 and 200 are rutted. They used to be FAST.:bliss
Add Devils Tower to the list of to see places above, and be sure to ride the Beartooth from Red Lodge to Yellowstone.
I think a lot depends on weather: If it's hot - and it can be, you will probably want to be as far north as you can. If not, you can benefit from lots of interesting routes and sights further south.
Surely, it much depends on what you want to see, and what time you have. You can blow across the USA in three days if you must, and have a fun ride (but maybe not see much). Getting to the Rally in Spokane is the prime goal. But, if you have a week or so, you can make it into one of the great memorable rides of a lifetime. Of course, you will spend the rest of your life wanting to do it again :clap
I know one couple who trailer their two bikes to Missoula, and ride from there. Sure, they miss a lot, but she has a fluffy butt, and can't enjoy the distances. They still attained the prime directive: get to the Rally (Redmond, in the last case).
For Redmond, I took five weeks. I'd do it again, in a minute. Rode it alone (the optimum riding group is one :) ) I'm hoping for a reprise in 2004. In general, my route was Hinckley to the UP, across 2, down to Rushmore, Devils Tower, the Chief Joseph, the Beartooth Pass, Yellowstone, Tetons, Jackson Hole, Idaho Falls, Arco, Ketchum and Sun Valley, Missoula (for tires), Lolo Pass, the back way into Bend, Redmond, Crater Lake, Coos Bay, the coast highway, Olympic Penninsula, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Seattle, Victoria, Port Hardy, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Tofino, Vancouver, Canadian Rockies, Banff, Calgary, Regina, Winnepeg, Thunder Bay, Saulte Ste. Marie, Ann Arbor, Hinckley - just me and the (then new) GS. One of the best parts of the ride was BC99 from the Vancouver Ferry through the old mining towns of BC.
By the way... You might want to hang in there for the Closing Ceremonies at Spokane. It's true; the same guy is doing the production, but a new guy is doing the sound. Details will follow, as I think them up. Prepare to be entertained as well as awarded.
Merry Christmas, riders,
Ann Arbor, MI and Hinckley, OH USA
Re: Too bad about Rt 2
[QUOTE][i]Originally posted by Jim Shaw [/i]
By the way... You might want to hang in there for the Closing Ceremonies at Spokane. It's true; the same guy is doing the production, but a new guy is doing the sound. [/QUOTE]
Your closing ceremonies, delivered in 60 minutes or less.
Hwy 2o Northern Cascades
[COLOR=blue]Don't let the negatives stop you. WE thought looking back from North Dakota to check our porch light was kind of neat. We live in NC. Grand Coulee Dam laser light show is worth a stopover. We stayed at a motel an easy walk from the nightime show. Worth it just to see the water over the dam. But [URL=http://www.raindomain.com/seattle8.html]here's[/URL] where you need to go. Take an extra day or two. You will not regret it. The Northern Cascade's are worth the trip. Wish we had the vacation.[/COLOR]
I nominate that as picture of the day.